Diokno on Andaya’s SC petition: ‘It’s good’
MANILA, Philippines—Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno on Monday welcomed House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr.’s petition for mandamus to compel the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to release funds for the fourth and final tranche of salary increase for state workers.
“We welcome it. It’s good that there is a Mandamus case before the SC (Supreme Court) so that this issue can be settled once and for all,” Diokno said in a briefing.
The Budget chief made the remark after Andaya filed before the Supreme Court a petition for mandamus to compel the DBM to implement the pay hike for government employees under the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) of 2016.
Diokno stressed the DBM “don’t have legal basis” to implement salary increase if the 2019 national budget would not be passed.
The 2019 national budget is currently pending in the Senate, prompting the government to operate under a reenacted budget in the first months of 2019.
However, Andaya countered Diokno, saying the release of fund for wage increase could be possible ahead of the approval of this year’s expenditure plan.
Andaya also said withholding the salary adjustment would be “unconstitutional,” and constitutes an “abuse of power.”
Budget Undersecretary Janet Abuel said Diokno “exercises no discretion” on the release of funds for the implementation of the fourth tranche, noting the DBM is “acting according to provisions in Executive Order 201,” which is the legal basis for the grant of the four tranches.
“Section 15 (of EO 201) requires legislation of appropriations. Pending the passage of the 2019 GAA (General Appropriations Act), we do not have legal basis to release funds for the fourth tranche,” Abuel explained. /kga
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